Delay in appointing family Tribunal Panel Members hindering child-related cases

The absence of a Family Tribunal for over two years in the Bolgatanga Municipality in the Upper East Region is affecting the operation and handling of child-related cases.

Ms Mercy Pwavra, the Bolgatanga Municipal Director of the Department of Social Welfare, said the delay in appointing Panel Members to sit on such matters was worrying as it had caused a lot of challenges in the management of cases.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, Ms Pwavra said the main challenge was with paternity cases.

“For child maintenance cases, we can mediate but there are some cases such as paternity cases that only the court can handle and if you mediate in a pregnancy and a party is adamant, especially refusing to take responsibility for a pregnancy, it is the court that must determine that.

“In the cases of Child custody, if you mediate and cannot make a headway, the role of the court becomes critical and also there are other cases on children that need care and protection such as abandonment, which the court must give the care order,” she added.

She appealed for expedited intervention on the request for the family tribunal to resume its work for an amicable resolution to cases and said the challenges were affecting the operation of the department.

“This is affecting us on daily basis, there are many cases in that respondents are adamant but if the courts were sitting, parties would not be behaving the way they do”, she said.

The Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560), amended in Children’s Act 937 (2016) provides for the rights of the child, which also covers issues of parental responsibilities, maintenance, adoption and fosterage of children in regulation 2361(2018).

The family tribunal in matters that concern parentage, custody access and maintenance of children can order a parent, guardian or relative of a child to contribute towards the maintenance of the child.

Source: GNA

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